In a shock announcement this week the business community in Ballina were informed that the local Chamber of Commerce CEO, Sandra Cribben, and one part-time employee of the organisation are to lose their jobs.
The decision was taken due to falling membership and reduced revenues for the organisation, which is considered to be one of the most active chambers in the west of Ireland.
In a statement from the chamber it stated that the organisation is embarking on a rationalisation process, but will continue to work hard to promote the commercial life of the town.
In reference to the job losses, the statement continued: “While this means that the organisation will now have no paid employees - a situation which already exists in many chambers across the country - our members can be assured that we will continue to lobby on behalf of the town.
“More importantly, and with the voluntary co-operation of our members, we plan to continue with some of the many successful projects that we are presently responsible for. This includes provision of the year-round Tourist Information Office on Pearse Street, a vital resource for visitors to the town.”
Other projects which have fallen under the remit of the chamber include delivering and maintaining the town's new CCTV system, erecting Christmas lights, and promotions such as the Samhain Abhainn Festival at Hallowe’en and Christmas events.
The work of the chamber has also included pursuing the development of important infrastructure such as the National Salmon Life Centre and Greenways in the north Mayo and west Sligo area, working with the Mayo North Welcome Home Festival/The Gathering, and lobbying for Phase Two of the N26 road.
“With help from all who are stakeholders in the prosperity of Ballina we hope to sustain as many of these projects as we possibly can,” said chamber president, Paddy O'Hora.
“In the meantime we want to take this opportunity to thank Sandra for her outstanding service for the past five years.”
The chamber AGM will take place at 8pm on May 20 in Ballina Manor Hotel.